[Akron, OH?]: [ca. 1905]. Original vintage gelatin silver photograph 8.25" x 5.125" approx. on contemporary mount, 9" x 6". Mild wear. Some silvering to image. Near fine overall. Titled and numbered in the negative. Near fine. Item #17175
A skilled and moving portrait of a Native American family, probably Mojave, with an unfortunately common and typically racist title along the top edge. Captured in-studio, the image shows a husband and wife with their infant child. The father stands, his wife seated beside and nursing the baby. Variations on this subject and title (native and black women with nursing child) were not uncommon at this time. But whereas most examples usually featured an intentionally unflattering image, this photo – considered without its offensive sentiment — offers a frank, objective, and almost tender appraisal of its subject not unlike the photographs Edward Curtis was taking during this period. Though numbered in the negative, the image is unsigned and uncredited. However, a brief review in a 1903 issue of The St. Louis and Canadian Photographer mentions a photograph apparently matching this image credited to one E. Carl Ritter of Akron (though we've been unable to confirm or find any further information on Ritter). Nevertheless, a striking portrait of a turn-of-the-century Native American family in period attire, with title reflecting period attitudes.